Title – Author: Black Dog – Rachel Neumeier
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Release Date: February 6, 2014
Format – Source: e-ARC – Publisher via NetGalley
Natividad is Pure, born with the ability to wield magic to protect humans from the supernatural, like the black dogs. When her parents are slaughtered by a vicious black dog enemy, Natividad, her black dog older brother Alejandro, and her human twin Miguel flee from Mexico to Vermont where the famous Dimilioc family of black dogs live. Dimilioc protect the Pure with their lives, but Natividad and her brothers’ safety isn’t guaranteed. Alejandro will have to prove his loyalty to the Dimilioc Master, Miguel will have to prove a human can be useful, and Natividad must choose a Dimilioc black dog mate. That is…if they survive the enemy who followed them north.
I wasn’t sure what I would be getting myself into with this one. I’m not the biggest fan of werewolf stories, excepting my crazy obsession with Teen Wolf (which, let’s be honest, has to do a bit more with the hot shirtless guys and a bit less with the whole werewolf thing). I’ve never really seen the appeal in werewolves, but I trusted Neumeier to give me a story I would enjoy and she definitely delivers.
What impressed me most about this novel is the mythology. This is not werewolf lore as you know it. There are ancient black dog customs that weave into every interaction involving a black dog. It was fascinating to see how Dimilioc wolves react to Pure Natividad, how other black dogs react to Dimilioc’s executioner, how a new black dog has to try to earn his way into Dimilioc. The world is so complex and multi-layered and obviously well thought out.
Initially I thought that Natividad might end up as a kind of pawn, the female who gets fought over and whose only role is to pop out babies, but I was way wrong. Natividad is one of the bravest characters in the story, which is saying something considering practically everyone else is a fearless, badass black dog. Natividad never hesitates to do what she must to protect the innocent and her loved ones and I really admire that about her.
Though I have to admit that my favorite character was Ezekiel Korte. I’m a sucker for an antihero. Ezekiel can be brutal; he is a trained killer, after all. But he also has a past made all the more complicated by the fact that he was appointed as executioner when he was fourteen. He can also be possessive, but he genuinely cares about his Dimilioc family and is incredibly loyal to the Master. I loved his casual arrogance, his snarky remarks, his appallingly handsome looks. I feel like there’s so much more to him, and I would honestly read a book just about him.
Though I wouldn’t consider werewolf stories my favorite, I was pleasantly surprised by how interesting I found the werewolf mythology in Black Dog.
7 – really good but missing a little something – George Weasley